Infection Medicine

New fully-funded PhD available in Bachmann Lab

A fully funded EPSRC studentship open to candidates worldwide is available in the Bachmann lab.

This studentship has now closed.

Project title: Wearable and implantable biosensors for monitoring of liver health

Project details:

Healthcare is moving towards mobile, digital, and personalised solutions. These aim to achieve good health through data driven interventions to prevent, treat, or regenerate damage caused by disease. Key to this approach is the detection of as many markers of health and disease as frequently as possible within a clinical, economic and privacy framework. For treatment, there is a growing interest in personalised monitoring of therapeutic drugs to optimally adjust the therapy and avoid adverse effects. While such analyses are done traditionally by laboratory-based diagnostics, more advanced solutions have been developed for decentralised testing through point of care diagnostics. The next step to take testing even closer to the patient is by making the diagnostic systems wearable or implantable. By this, testing can be done easier, more often and made digitally accessible for connected and mobile healthcare. Such development has been successfully demonstrated for blood glucose monitoring which constitutes a market of $16 billion worldwide including of wearable and implantable sensors as most rapidly growing market segment. The PhD project will build on the long-standing experience of the industrial partner Johnson Matthey on implantable medical devices and precious metal sensors as well as the track record in electrochemical biosensors and molecular diagnostics of the Bachmann Lab as academic partner at University of Edinburgh. This project will explore the development of electrochemical biosensors for biomarkers of liver health suitable for implantable and wearable biosensors. Testing for liver health markers has great importance for treatment monitoring, drug safety as well as clinical trials opening up unprecedented opportunities for home testing and home care. The PhD student will be based at the Bachmann Lab at Infection Medicine of the Edinburgh Medical School of University of Edinburgh, working closely with Professor James Dear at the Centre for Cardiovascular Science and benefit from close collaboration with Johnson Matthey and research visits of their R&D labs in Reading. The student will gain expertise and use techniques around assay development, electrochemical biosensors, biosensor data analysis and modelling, surface chemistry and characterisation, sensor manufacturing, nucleic acid characterisation, molecular and clinical diagnostics. For informal enquiries please contact Prof Till Bachmann at  

Research partner:

Professor Till Bachmann is Deputy Head of the Division of Infection Medicine and Personal Chair of Molecular Diagnostics and Infection at the University of Edinburgh. Till is an expert in point of care detection of infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance, conducting research at the interface of biomarkers and rapid diagnostics including for COVID-19. Till fulfills a variety of industrial and institutional advisory roles worldwide. As such he is vice-chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance (JPIAMR), panel member for the Longitude Prize on Antibiotics, Scientific Advisory Board member of CARB-X (Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator), of BIRAC (Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council) for Devices & Diagnostics under National Biopharma Mission of the Department of Biotechnology of the Indian Government, and the German Institute for Bioprocessing and Analytical Measurement Techniques. The Bachmann group has over 20 years’ experience in biosensors and point of care test development.

The University of Edinburgh (UoE) has extensive research expertise in areas of biomarker discovery and biosensor development, and in collaboration with industry, in large scale collaborative projects. The Little France Campus, the co-location of the Edinburgh Medical School, the Edinburgh BioQuarter and the Royal Infirmary, creates a world-class environment for translational medical research. In REF2014, Edinburgh was in the UK top 5 for medicine. Across all subjects, Edinburgh University was the 4th most powerful research university in UK.

Industrial partner:

Johnson Matthey (JM) is a FTSE100 company with a track record of innovation in materials to enhance life. The iCASE PhD project will be supported by Ross Gordon and Bénédicte Thiébaut. Ross Gordon (PhD Inorganic Chemistry) has 8 years industrial research experience including nanoparticle synthesis and printed electronics. Bénédicte Thiébaut (PhD Organometallic Chemistry) has 20 years’ experience in materials science and has a particular interest in the use of nanoparticles in biomedical applications. JM have access to a wide variety of advanced characterisation techniques required for this project and have extensive collaborative links with Harwell, allowing access to a wealth of equipment and expertise.

The candidate:

We are looking for a candidate with a degree in biomedical engineering, biomedical sciences, or similar with a background in biosensors, wearables, molecular diagnostics, electrochemistry, electrode development or related disciplines. Candidates should have or expected to achieve a degree (2:1 or above). Masters students or those with practical experience in research or industry are also encouraged to apply. The successful candidate will benefit from both academic and industrial training.

Funding notes

This is a joint EPSRC Case Target studentship with the University of Edinburgh and Johnson Matthey. The award is for 3.5 year fully funded PhD project at UKRI stipend level (£16,000 per annum) and includes UK level tuition fees and research costs. This opportunity is open to UK and International students. The international fee difference will be covered by the University of Edinburgh for the successful international applicant. To apply, please send your covering letter and CV to Marissa Millar.